Sentro to Pernia, ECOP: Use a Real Argument to Veto Villanueva SOT

Socio Economic Planning Secretary Pernia should simply say that the security of tenure bill, also known as Villanueva Bill, will not be able to deliver President Duterte’s promise to end endo, rather than weave an imagined argument such as job losses, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Mangagawa (SENTRO) said in a statement.

“The notion that security of tenure will lead to job losses is a worn-out argument that has no empirical basis, solely designed to scare people off in supporting the SOT bill!” Josua Mata, Secretary General of SENTRO emphatically said.

According to Mata, the SOT Bill should not lead to job losses because it won’t entail additional costs to employers—assuming they are already following the law and are providing their workers what the law requires them to pay.

“On the contrary, by directly hiring workers, employers would no longer have to shell out the 10-15% premium over minimum wages that they pay to manning agencies, they would even cut down on their training costs, while at the same time, gain more productive workers,” Mata explained.

The true reason why employers are calling for the veto of the Villanueva bill, is simple, “they want to kill trade unionism in the country!” Mata said.

Mata said that ECOP President Edgardo Lacson insinuated that in an interview prior to SONA that, the “… security of tenure bill… it will be used by the local unions only as a recruitment tool, to arrest their declining membership.”

Ironically, they called the Villanueva bill unconstitutional. But they ignore the fact that contractualization is unconstitutional! After all, contractualization prevent workers from accessing their constitutional guarantees to organize, collectively bargain and to strike, the labor leader said.

For ECOP, giving workers the ability to unionize is anathema to their sole mission—to ratchet up their profits at the expense of their workers with no organization to challenge them, Mata also said, adding “such Jurassic thinking is the reason why inequality continues to grow by leaps and bounds and poverty keeps growing amidst economic growth.”

The truth is, local and foreign employers, have already gutted the bill, rendering it toothless, before it was even passed by the Senate. This is why the leaders of the House of Representatives junked its own version and adopted the Senate bill to avoid having a bicameral conference committee, Mata also explained.

Villanueva Bill will NOT end endo, because it will not prohibit fixed-term employment, which means that employers can continue to hire workers for 5 months or less, Mata further explained, adding, “worst, it would continue to allow employers to contract out all types of jobs, unless labor and employers come to an agreement on which jobs are “directly related” and are therefore prohibited from being contracted out.”

“For Pete’s sake, Secretary Pernia, if you want to have the Villanueva Bill vetoed, use a real argument!” Mata forcefully said.

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